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Hat Tarbush

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Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery.

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Basic Information

Accession Number:1986M112.19
Collection:Applied Art - Costume
Date:1850 - 1920


The Southall Collection is a major collection of Palestinian Dress dating from 1900-1930. It includes garments and accessories worn by nomadic Bedouin people as well as men, women and children living in Ramallah and Bethlehem.

This hat known as a tarbush is moulded out of flat, seamless felt, and has a black cotton tassel attached to the centre of its flat crown. This tarbush formed part of the headwear of Palestinian villagers, which composed of several layers. The first was a white cotton skullcap or araqiyeh (meaning sweat cap). Then a white or grey felt cap known as libbadeh or kubbah was placed over it. The tarbush was placed over this and wrapped with a plain white cloth, which protected the last layer and also made the headdress look thicker, as a fat turban was prestigious. The last layer was the turban or laffeh itself, which was wrapped round so as to leave the crown of the tarbush exposed. The end of the tassel would have been enclosed in the turban. The adoption of the tarbush and laffeh signified manhood and was seen as a symbol of a man's honour and reputation.

Presented as part of the Southall Collection, 1985.

Further Information

Production Period:19th/20th Century
Medium:Moulded felt with a black cotton tassle.
Place of Origin:Palestine


Depth:13 cm
Diameter:18 cm